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Wildwood Chronicles by Colin Meloy & Carson Ellis

Stemming from my post yesterday, I have begun doing a lot of research on children’s literature. Not going to lie, this is the perfect excuse for me.  Though I am an avid reader, I enjoy children’s literature almost as much as adult literature, so I’m happy to have an excuse to browse the children’s sections of Powell’s (aka book mecca) for longer than most adults should!

Tonight I’m attending an event I am particularly excited about!  Colin Meloy, the lead singer of The Decemberists, and his wife, illustrator Carson Ellis, have combined forces to produce one of the most anticipated children’s stories the PacNW has ever seen.  Wildwood is half fairy tale, half coming of age novel set in Portland, OR.  They have taken Portland’s landscape and created a fairy tale world where the real Forest Park is called I.W. (Impassible Wilderness) where no one goes in, and no one comes out. Here’s a little clip from Powell’s website on the upcoming novel:

Created by Colin Meloy, lead singer of the Decemberists, and illustrator Carson EllisWildwood (Balzer & Bray) is the first book in an epic middle-grade fantasy series. Set in Portland, this spellbinding tale features a secret world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with dark intentions. What begins as a rescue mission becomes something much bigger as two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of the wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Here is one other review I liked by Michael Chabon, author of well a ton of things…my favorite being The Yiddish Policemen’s Union:

Dark and whimsical, with a true and uncanny sense of otherworldliness, Wildwood is the heir to a great tradition of stories of wild childhood adventure. It snatched me up and carried me off into a world I didn’t want to leave.

I think it takes a special talent to create a story so intriguing you encapsulate both ends of the spectrum as far as your audience is concerned. HarperCollins, the publisher, said, “Wildwood is a spellbinding tale full of wonder, danger, and magic that juxtaposes the thrill of a secret world and modern city life. Original and fresh yet steeped in classic fantasy.”  I loved that description.

On top of what is already an incredible work of art, are Carson Ellis’ astoundingly beautiful illustrations.  I have always been a fan of her work as I’m drawn to ornate illustration.  The color scheme, based on the samples I’ve seen, that she chose for the novel ties very well to the suspenseful tone of the story.  Nothing too bold or bright, yet colorful enough to catch a young readers eye with bold pops of color and immense detail.

Carson Ellis illustration from Wildwood
Carson Ellis illustration from Wildwood

I was lucky enough to hear Colin and Carson speak at the recent Plazm 20th Anniversary event.  Colin read the first chapter of the novel and I was hooked.  Even more so than I already was.  I am attending their release event tonight at the Bagdad Theater with my new favorite Portland friend (who happens to be an avid reader as well).  You’ll see us in line at 6 right when the doors open to get our books signed by Carson and Colin and hopefully hear a little more read and discussed by this powerful duo.

What an inspiration for William and I to see husband and wife collaborations like Wildwood.  I. CANNOT. WAIT.  By the way, I would be happy to try and pick up a copy of the book for those who are interested.  Shoot me an email if you are!  Happy reading everyone!

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It has been decided.  We’ve thrown it around for a long time.  Dreamed about it.  I’ve decided it is time. Mr. and Mrs. Fancy Pants will be writing a children’s book.  We will be collaborating on the concept.  I would imagine the writing will be an 80/20 split (myself being the 80%) and the illustration will be 100/0 (myself being the 100%).  NOT.  I consider myself a novice art director, but I’m working my way up the ranks.

i’m nervous to give us a deadline on the concept since I have thought rather un-seriously about this for so long, however, if I toil over it for too long without getting anywhere, I’m going to have to slap a deadline on myself.  I know nothing about writing books.  But I do know good literature and I know a man with an eye for design.  Certainly we can figure out the rest.

We will most likely self-publish from Kickstarter to hang on to the integrity of the creation that comes out of this project.  We may be lucky enough to find a publisher that wants to publish the story as close to its original form as possible but I am hearing from others that that is highly unlikely.  Right now I have so many ideas, I’m fairly certain if you were to crack open my head (which would be quite messy) it would look something like this–

Convoluted Mind Map

–minus any semblance of organization or sense.  I’m looking forward to it though.  I’ve been looking forward to starting this project for so long.  If we’re able to pull it off, it will be such a fusion of the two of our talents (emphasis on the word IF).  I have nothing groundbreaking to share about the project other than it is.  No working titles, no nailed down characters, protagonist, or theme.  Just a drive to make a dream a reality.  Keeping my fingers crossed from here until it’s completed!

Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin

Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood, Rumpelstiltskin

Like many others, I enjoy a good book.  However, I inherited an unhealthy love of literature from my father.  Thanks dad.  There are few pleasures in my life that give me the same joy.  Mainly I enjoy the actual process of reading; it doesn’t have to be anything good, although that does enhance the experience, but to be honest I genuinely enjoy the act of reading.  I think you’ll find a different opinion with every person that you come across–whether reading acts as healthy release or if, in the case of my husband, reading brings back horrible memories of being forced to read Melville’s Billy Budd in high school and forever tarnishing the name of literature. For those of us that were able to move past the sometimes difficult “required” readings in grade school, what fascinates me the most about the mind’s reaction to literature is its ability to completely remove itself from reality and immerse itself into something else entirely–the opposite of reality, the fantasy, theory, or fiction created entirely from someone else’s mind.

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